Eddie Jordan has revealed that a little white lie played a major part in Michael Schumacher making his F1 debut 20 years ago in the Belgian Grand Prix.
With regular driver Bertrand Gachot sidelined after he was sent to prison two months following an altercation that saw him spray a taxi driver with CS gas, Jordan was forced to find an alternative driver for the Spa race, with Schumacher eventually taking the drive.
Although he failed to finish after a clutch problem, Schumacher made enough of an impression to secure a switch to Benetton for the following race and has since gone on to become the most successful driver in the history of the sport.
However, Jordan has now revealed that it could have been very different were it not for a small lie on Schumacher's part prior to his debut race.
"I asked Michael if he'd been to Spa before and he said 'yes',” he revealed to The Sun
. “But he'd only been as a spectator and not driven the track.
"I suppose it is too strong to say he lied but when you ask someone if they've been to the track before you know it means have they raced there.
"Had I known he'd not raced there before then I probably wouldn't have put him in the car as Spa is such a technically demanding and difficult track.
"If I had not raced him who knows what would have happened in his career."
Jordan added that he had been surprised at the success Schumacher went on to enjoy in his career, despite being aware of the fact he was a special talent prior to the Spa weekend.
"Before the first race we gave him a test at Silverstone,” he said. "I remember getting a call from our team manager Trevor Foster saying 'I'm not sure what's going on. Did they alter the track this morning? His times are ridiculously fast'.
"I knew Michael was an outstanding talent. But I didn't expect him to go on and win so many races and titles and become the most successful driver in history.”